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Bretton Woods Update No.70 March/April 2010

PDF version | At Issue PDF | text version | versión en español

UK complacent about World Bank failings Lax DFID report lacks plan for progress

News|26 April 2010

In its annual report, the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) highlighted serious weaknesses in the World Bank's work on gender and crisis response, but overlooked failings on health, climate impacts and governance reform. read article...

IMF changing its mantra? Control capital, not inflation

News|15 April 2010

After four decades of promoting policies of targeting very low inflation rates and unfettered capital flows, the global financial crisis has prompted new debate over IMF ideology. read article...

IMF loans: still pinching vulnerable countries where it hurts most

by Bhumika Muchhala and Nuria Molina

News|15 April 2010

Recent papers by academics and civil society reveal that the IMF's claims of reform on conditionality do not stand up to close scrutiny. read article...

Bank voting remains unbalanced Rich countries retain almost 60% voting power

News|16 April 2010

Illustration by Robin Heighway-Bury/

Small shifts in voting power at the World Bank are expected to be formally agreed at April's spring meetings, leaving high-income countries holding almost 60 per cent of the vote, with further reform put off until 2015. Meanwhile the Bank is expected to receive a smaller capital increase than it sought, which could push lending back to pre-crisis levels. read article...

Education strategy review: has the Bank learned its lessons?

News|16 April 2010

The World Bank launched a review of its education strategy in January with a concept note setting out key challenges and principles for a sector where its activities have come under sustained criticism. read article...

World Bank energy lending causes uproar

by Ama Marston

News|15 April 2010

Debate about the World Bank energy portfolio and its impacts on climate change has reached the boiling point with hundreds of civil society organisations campaigning against the Bank's $3.75 billion loan for a new coal plant in South Africa. read article...

Eskom loan blackens the World Bank's name

by Bobby Peek

Comment|16 April 2010

The World Bank, Business Unity South Africa and the African National Congress got their way with a major loan for Eskom, the national power authority, despite broad based opposition from local people, the poor, community organisations, the churches, unions, and environmental and social justice NGOs locally and globally. read article...

IEG: World Bank neglects most water-deprived countries

News|16 April 2010

A recent report by the World Bank's Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) finds the Bank's water lending to be overlooking the most water-stressed countries. read article...

Secret World Bank shake-up?

News|16 April 2010

Internal reforms with potentially far reaching consequences for how the World Bank is run are underway. The proposals were developed without public consultation, and over a timeframe that allowed limited discussion with shareholder governments and stakeholders. read article...

Evaluation: World Bank's PSIA contribution to country capacity 'negligible'

News|16 April 2010

A recent report by the World Bank's Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) on poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA) finds implementation problems and a "negligible" impact on developing country capacity, echoing long standing civil society critiques. read article...

World Bank and IMF enter debate on sources of climate finance

News|16 April 2010

As experts in the United Nations Advisory Group on Finance (AGF) start to scope innovative sources of climate finance, the IMF issued its own proposal, while questions loom over the governance of climate funds. Meanwhile, the Climate Investment Funds' (CIFs) Partnership Forum exposed the limitations of the Bank's engagement with civil society in developing the funds thus far. read article...

IFC's mining investments: a black hole for human rights?

News|16 April 2010

A spate of human rights violations and environmental abuses by mining ventures backed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, is raising alarm over the inadequacy of its social and environmental standards. read article...

IDA: World Bank fundraising drive begins

News|16 April 2010

As officials opened discussions on donor contributions to the sixteenth replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA, the World Bank arm for low-income countries), civil society groups urged major reforms to the Bank's structure and approach. read article...

Rethinking the IMF again But will it do any good?

News|15 April 2010

The IMF's mandate review - with a particular focus on how it can better serve large emerging markets in the areas of surveillance, crisis prevention and the international monetary system - is ignoring most developing countries and may potentially be fruitless. read article...

Rewriting the rules on exchange rates Is monetary system reform on the cards?

News|16 April 2010

The financial crisis has prompted renewed interest in reform of the international monetary system, with the role of the IMF squarely up for debate. As countries are starting to take sides for or against a comprehensive overhaul, regional initiatives may offer greater hope of change. read article...

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